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Feb. 11, 2021

Universal dynamics of complex biological communities

A grand challenge in physics is to understand how the emergent properties of complex systems arise from interactions between the constituent parts of the system. A prime example within biology is multi-species communities, where the properties of a community arise from interactions between the species that are present. Over the last decade tremendous progress has been made in characterizing communities of microorganisms, but the lack of experimentally tractable model systems has made it difficult to discern the principles governing microbial community stability and function. In this talk I will describe our recent experimental efforts to develop a bottom-up approach to understanding the universal dynamics of these communities. Consistent with predictions from theory, we find that microbial communities lose stability when we experimentally increase either the number of species or the strength of interspecies interactions. Our results provide insight into potentially universal behaviors of complex biological communities.

Universal dynamics of complex biological communities
Host: Sidhartha Goyal
Event series  Physics Colloquium